Plato, Phaedo

LCL 36: 440-441

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ἀνόητόν τε καὶ ἠλίθιον θάρρος θαρρήσει. | τὸ δὲ ἀποφαίνειν ὅτι ἰσχυρόν τί ἐστιν ἡ ψυχὴ καὶ θεοειδὲς καὶ ἦν ἔτι πρότερον, πρὶν ἡμᾶς ἀνθρώπους γενέσθαι, οὐδὲν κωλύειν φῂς πάντα ταῦτα μηνύειν ἀθανασίαν μὲν μή, ὅτι δὲ πολυχρόνιόν τέ ἐστιν ψυχὴ καὶ ἦν που πρότερον ἀμήχανον ὅσον χρόνον καὶ ᾔδει τε καὶ ἔπραττεν πολλὰ ἄττα· dἀλλὰ γὰρ οὐδέν τι μᾶλλον ἦν ἀθάνατον, ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτὸ τὸ εἰς ἀνθρώπου σῶμα ἐλθεῖν ἀρχὴ ἦν αὐτῇ ὀλέθρου, ὥσπερ νόσος· καὶ ταλαιπωρουμένη τε δὴ τοῦτον τὸν βίον ζῴη καὶ τελευτῶσά γε ἐν τῷ καλουμένῳ θανάτῳ ἀπολλύοιτο. | διαφέρειν δὲ δὴ φῂς οὐδὲν εἴτε ἅπαξ εἰς σῶμα ἔρχεται εἴτε πολλάκις, πρός γε τὸ ἕκαστον ἡμῶν φοβεῖσθαι· προσήκει γὰρ φοβεῖσθαι, εἰ μὴ ἀνόητος εἴη, τῷ μὴ εἰδότι μηδὲ eἔχοντι λόγον διδόναι ὡς ἀθάνατόν ἐστι. τοιαῦτ’ ἄττα ἐστίν, οἶμαι, ὦ Κέβης, ἃ λέγεις· καὶ ἐξεπίτηδες πολλάκις ἀναλαμβάνω, ἵνα μή τι διαφύγῃ ἡμᾶς, εἴ τέ τι βούλει, προσθῇς ἢ ἀφέλῃς. |

Καὶ ὁ Κέβης, Ἀλλ’ οὐδὲν ἔγωγε ἐν τῷ παρόντι, ἔφη, οὔτε ἀφελεῖν οὔτε προσθεῖναι δέομαι· ἔστι δὲ ταῦτα ἃ λέγω.

Ὁ οὖν Σωκράτης συχνὸν χρόνον ἐπισχὼν καὶ πρὸς ἑαυτόν τι σκεψάμενος, Οὐ φαῦλον πρᾶγμα, ἔφη, ὦ Κέβης, ζητεῖς· | ὅλως γὰρ δεῖ περὶ γενέσεως καὶ φθορᾶς τὴν αἰτίαν διαπραγματεύσασθαι. 96ἐγὼ οὖν σοι



different kind of life, is not to find his confidence senseless and silly. And to demonstrate that the soul is something strong and godlike, and was already in existence before we became human beings you say does nothing to prevent all this indicating not immortality, but only that a soul is very long-lived and existed somewhere before for an unimaginable length of time and both knew and did many kinds of things. dBut the fact is it was no more deathless for all that, but even its very entry into a human body was the beginning of its destruction, like a disease; and in fact it lives this life in distress and ends up finally being destroyed in so-called death. Furthermore you say it makes no difference whether it enters the body once or many times, at any rate as far as our individual fears are concerned. You see it makes sense for someone to be afraid, unless he’s an idiot, if he doesn’t know or ehave some argument to offer that it is immortal. I think this is roughly what you’re saying, Cebes. And I am reviewing this position a number of times on purpose so we don’t miss anything, and so that, if you wish, you may add or withdraw anything.”

And Cebes said: “Well there’s nothing I want to withdraw or add for the moment. That is what I’m saying.”

So after a long pause wrapped up in his own thoughts Socrates said: “What you’re looking for, Cebes, is no small matter. You see it needs a complete and thorough examination of the cause91 of coming into being and passing away. 96So I’ll go through my own experiences of these

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plato_philosopher-phaedo.2017